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What are exercise induced leaks?

Whether you’ve just had a baby or started a weight-loss workout program, you’re probably no stranger to exercise induced leaks. Triggered by high-impact or strenuous activities (hello, childbirth!), exercise induced leaks are a type of urine incontinence called “stress incontinence.” They are extremely common – roughly one in three women experience this type of athletic incontinence – and treatable, through specific exercises designed to tone the vital tissues supporting your bladder and uterus.

What causes them?

Exercise induced leaks and urinary incontinence are a sign of weak or stretched pelvic floor muscles. They often occur (especially on a full bladder) when you:

  • Work out
  • Sneeze
  • Laugh
  • Cough
  • Strength train
  • Lift heavy things

In addition, the two types of adult incontinence you may be experiencing – stress, caused by activity, and urge, caused by overactive bladder – can hit while you’re pregnant (especially during the third trimester), in advanced age, or if you’re carrying extra weight. Bladder leaks are not always predictable, but there are strength-building steps you can take to reduce their frequency.

Pelvic floor toning

Here is a pelvic floor strengthening exercise you can begin anytime, including right after childbirth. (Note: If your delivery involved forceps, this routine can be adopted as soon as any urinary catheter has been removed, and you are passing urine normally.)

  • Stand comfortably with your feet hip distance apart. Say “ha” forcefully, pulling in your lower, deep abs as you do so: these are your transverse abdominal muscles. Hold for two seconds and release.
  • Now say “ha” again and keep your muscles engaged, this time adding a squeeze toward the front of your bladder, as if stopping the flow of urine: this is your pelvic floor engaging. Hold for two seconds, and release.
  • Work up to 10-20 reps. Eventually, your pelvic floor will contract automatically when you lift, sneeze, or laugh.
  • Repeat daily to continually tone your pelvic floor. Once this muscle group is fully strengthened, you should find it much easier to get through a full workout, exercise induced leak free.

– JustGoGirl Team

Urinary incontinence resources

We’re constantly on the lookout for the latest information related to exercise induced leaks, urinary incontinence and female bladder leakage. Here are some trusted sources to learn more about urinary incontinence and the anatomy of the pelvic floor:

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